What You Should Know: Updates on the Biden Administration's First Month in Office

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Read about the latest Executive Orders on the environment, the pandemic, and ethnicity in the US

In just his first month in office, President Biden has made notable executive decisions regarding the pandemic, racial discrimination, and the environment. We put together a brief list of highlights from what’s been going on in the White House since January 20th. Check out a comprehensive list of resources at the bottom of this list to read and learn more about Biden’s new orders. We'll be back with another update at Biden’s 100 days in office.

#1 Rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement

Background and commitment:

  • On February 19th, the US rejoined the legally binding vow to reduce planet-warming emissions. A total of 195 nations are currently on board.
  • The US must work towards formulating a plan to contain global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius by 2030.

Why it matters:

  • The US will return to prioritizing the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming.
  • Biden will likely need to rely on state and local partners to reach emission cut goals.
  • It has been widely suggested that the Biden administration’s new target could be between 40 and 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

#2 Appointing Nada Culver new interim director for the Bureau of Land Management

Background:

  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is a federal agency tasked with managing public lands for multiple uses. That means everything from preservation to recreation.
  • Culver is an attorney with extensive experience working with environmental groups.

Why it matters:

  • Our source (E&E News) reports that Culver "is a sharp critic of Trump's decisions to revise the federal protections for sage grouse, to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah, and to focus BLM on increasing oil and gas development."

Read more on this here.

#3 Revoking the Keystone XL oil pipeline’s federal permit

Background:

  • The Keystone XL pipeline is a 1,200-mile pipeline that was expected to carry crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, cutting through Indigenous lands.
  • This project would have increased the use of nonrenewable fossil fuels and production was projected to extend beyond 2050.

Why it matters:

  • A small portion of the pipeline has been built in the US, but Biden’s executive decision to revoke its permit means its continued construction is not as probable.
  • Several national monuments were restored and oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been paused.
  • Looking ahead, it will likely become more difficult to build new US oil and gas pipelines.

#4 Expanding access to COVID-19 treatments backed by data-driven research

Commitment:

  • Biden has appointed the Secretary of Health to continue to support COVID-19 treatment research.
  • Biden has directed all department and agency heads to promote the compiling, publishing, and sharing of COVID-19 related data.

Why it matters:

  • Increased support will be given to those among the hardest hit by the pandemic including in critical care and long-term care facilities. Read more on this here.
  • Decision-making will be informed by scientific findings that will not be distorted or politically influenced, increasing scientific integrity.
  • This will result in increased transparency and public understanding of the coronavirus.

#5 Promoting racial equality and denouncing anti-Asian discrimination

Commitment:

  • According to NBC News, Biden has made an order to conduct equity evaluations of government agencies and to reallocate resources to promote equal treatment for all, “including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”
  • Biden encouraged the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance on cultural competency as part of the COVID-19 response and ordered the attorney general to combat ongoing hate crimes.

Why it matters:

  • Our nation has seen a recent surge in anti-Asian and Pacific Islander discrimination as well as continued discrimination against Black people and other underrepresented communities; This executive order denouncing racial discrimination is a step towards reducing violence and misguided biases.

#6 Asserting commitment to tribal sovereignty

Commitment:

  • The Biden administration has reaffirmed a former policy that directs all department and agency heads to consider and consult with tribal officials on matters that may impact them.

Why it matters:

  • This will increase respect for Native American and Alaska Native tribes, likely strengthening these relationships. Read the memorandum here.



*These takeaways represent a small subset of the Biden Administration's agenda. As a community focused on inclusivity in the outdoors, these are the topics that we chose to highlight.

References

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/here-are-all-the-climate-actions-biden-took-on-day-one/
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/climate/biden-paris-climate-agreement.html
https://www.newsweek.com/joe-bidens-first-week-office-what-hes-done-vs-what-he-promised-1564583
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/here-s-full-list-biden-s-executive-actions-so-far-n1255564
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/more-2-200-coronavirus-deaths-nursing-homes-federal-government-isn-n1181026
https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/26/memorandum-on-tribal-consultation-and-strengthening-nation-to-nation-relationships/
https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/blogs/oil/020921-fft-biden-oil-pipelines-upstream-federal-land-permitting-energy-policy
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063725669?fbclid=IwAR0koq5hHKtDgrrEmZbMoyJjak9SSB2lsq2VLW12EG9J90uC-iT0foafaaw

Cover photo: Nathaniel Polta

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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